Social media – stop the hysteria.

I read with interest an article on the Guardian website that discussed whether Twitter was putting an end to private lives. If you haven’t read it and are interested then click on the link.

http://www.guardian.co.uk/technology/2012/jun/09/twitter-privacy-melissa-stetten?newsfeed=true

It seems Twitter continues to hit headlines, raise concerns and in some cases create a kind of hysteria about what it is and does. When I started writing this blog a year or so ago I remember discussing how Twitter will become part of modern life and will stop becoming a story in itself. Clearly, I was wrong. Or perhaps it is just that it is taking longer for people to accept the part that Twitter and other social media play in modern life.

I imagine that it took years before people stopped discussing how a voice could be beamed into the home and just accepted that was the role of the telephone. At some point people will stop talking about social networks and whether they are a terrible blight on modern life and will just accept they exist.

For every article that is written to damn the impact of social networks there are people finding Twitter, Facebook, Google+ and others beneficial to their daily lives. They can connect with like-minded people, have conversations about issues that matter to them and can find out information. Yes, some of this information needs to be questioned or taken with a pinch of salt. But isn’t that the same with everything. If someone says something to you the information is processed with an understanding of whether they are the kind of person who is trustworthy or someone who gossips. We give more credibility to the person we trust which is the same behaviour we see played out on social networks.

Going back to the article on the Guardian’s website, I have to say I don’t think Twitter or any social networks have put an end to a private life. That started to erode when the Internet came into existence, when we got more connected to information no matter where we were and social networks are just part of that. In short, the lines between public and private life blurred many years ago.

And I hope that in the months to come we might stop the hysteria about social networks and what they do to modern life and start to accept that they are here to stay.

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